Perhaps you are a newly independent homeowner or an individual starting over in a new place with an empty kitchen. You think you have everything figured out when it suddenly dawns on you that cooking a variety of home-cooked food you can enjoy requires more than just having a stove, a couple of pans, and a lone spatula.
Where do you even begin? Whether you are living solo or in dire need of a kitchen makeover, we have listed here the top 50 home kitchen essentials you should get so you can drink, eat, and entertain at home in the best way possible.
Top 50 Kitchen Essentials Every Homeowner Should Never Go Without
- Chef’s Knife
A high-quality chef’s knife will make all the difference when it comes to preparing meat and vegetables. This makes prep time quicker and the task easier since there is less struggle when slicing, chopping, dicing, or mincing your ingredients.
- Paring Knife
Having a paring knife is best for dicing smaller vegetables and fruits, as well as for delicate slicing tasks like deveining shrimp.
- Bread Knife
Slice through crumby loaves of bread or pastries without ruining their perfect shape by using a bread knife. These large, serrated knives are also ideal for getting the perfect slice of tomato.
- Cutting Board
Perhaps the most overused item in the kitchen, the cutting board is one of the home cook’s best friends. This is where all the knife action happens, after all. Plastic cutting boards are cheaper, but wooden ones are preferred since they can also help keep your knives in good condition for longer.
- Measuring Cups
Bakers will find the measuring cups helpful, but beginner cooks who haven’t mastered recipes yet will thank the heavens for having them around. They’re a versatile tool in the kitchen, as you can measure both liquid and solid ingredients with them. These could be made out of plastic, high-quality glass, or stainless steel.
- Measuring Spoons
There is no need to guess how much a teaspoon or a tablespoon of salt looks like when you have measuring spoons. Measure smaller portions of ingredients for baking and cooking.
- Rolling Pin
Create perfectly flat crusts for sweet or savory pies or crusts, or roll out cookie dough with ease using a rolling pin that is longer than the expected width of the dough.
Rinsing vegetables, beans, grains, or pasta can be messy if you do not have a colander. This tool, usually made with stainless steel, can also hold food items that need to drip before usage or serving.
- Kitchen Shears
Sometimes, you just have to speed things up—chopping fresh herbs, dried fruit, and even meat is made easier with kitchen shears.
- Can Opener
Food comes in cans, too, and it’s going to be difficult to get them out without a can opener. Not all canned goods have pop-tops, so it is always best to have this ready whenever possible.
- Vegetable Peeler
Vegetables can be a pain to peel. When you just don’t have the patience or time to peel potatoes, carrots, or any other “tough” vegetable or fruit with your trusty knife, a peeler works to help you get the job done efficiently.
- Mixing Bowls
Mixing bowls are one of the most important things you can invest in. They are used for making treats that require mixing large quantities of ingredients and marinating meats or food items.
Beat eggs or whip cream until they have stiff peaks. Blend salad dressings or marinades and eliminate lumps from your delicious sauces with a whisk.
Useful for transferring soups and liquids from hot pots to beautiful bowls or containers, ladles are great kitchen tools that every kitchen should have.
- Handheld Microplane and Grater
Box graters can be bulky and take up a lot of storage space. Having a handheld grater is awesome for shredding soft cheeses and vegetables or fruits, while handheld microplanes are useful for granulating hard cheeses like parmesan, grating whole spices, and zesting fruits.
The spider is a long, handheld mesh strainer commonly used for fishing out food after deep-frying. It strains out the excess oil as you transfer the fried food onto a paper towel or strainer.
- Kitchen Scale
Sometimes, recipes call for extreme accuracy when it comes to the weight of ingredients. Kitchen scales are great for weighing out ingredients when baking and cooking or controlling portion sizes if you are on a strict diet.
- Kitchen Thermometer
Some recipes also call for extra care when it comes to specific temperature requirements. Having a thermometer ensures that you are not over or undercooking your food.
This handy tool can be used for efficiently mashing not just boiled potatoes but other types of cooked vegetables, as well.
- Citrus Juicer
Extracting the juice from citrus fruits can be labor-intensive if done without a citrus juicer. This tool allows you to get the most juice out of the fruits with minimum effort.
- Small, Medium, and Large Saucepans and Skillets
Having different-sized saucepans and skillets makes cooking more energy-efficient because you can match the amount of food you need to prep with the size of the cookware.
Getting fried food out of the pan, flipping meat and vegetables in the oven, and rescuing a potful of pasta from overcooking in boiling water are some of the most important kitchen tasks that can be done with tongs.
If you cook every day, you would most probably have to use a spatula daily, too. Investing in sturdy and durable spatulas that come in various sizes is best since these are used regularly in the kitchen.
- Cast Iron Skillet
Made of non-stick material, cast iron skillets make it easier to clean meat and other food particles off the surface. It’s great for searing meat or making paella, steaks, and a variety of other dishes.
Whip up big batches of soups, stews, and pasta sauces with a sturdy stockpot. There are variants with multi-ply designs to help contain heat.
- Sheet Tray
One of the most versatile kitchen essentials on the list, durable steel sheet trays can be used for baking cookies or pizzas, roasting vegetables, cooking meat dishes, and more. You can also slide it under roasting trays to catch juices from cooking meat.
- Casserole Dishes
Casserole dishes are lifesavers. You can assemble and serve your dish all in the same container after taking it out of the oven, so it’s definitely something you should get for your kitchen.
- Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens are useful for making slow-cooked meals like pot roasts or soups.
- Salad Spinner
There is nothing worse than soggy, watery salads. Avoid this mishap by using a salad spinner after washing your greens.
Stir-frying is made fun and easy with this Asian-style pan. Having a wok allows you to stir and flip meats, veggies, and noodles without making a huge mess on the stovetop.
- Grill Pan
Even without an outdoor grill, you can impress your guests with just a grill pan to create eye-catching grill marks on your vegetable and meat dishes.
- Cooling Rack
Usually used for baking, cooling racks are the best tools for quickly and evenly cooling cookies, pastries, and other goods that come out of the oven.
- Oven Mitts
Burnt fingers are a no-no in the kitchen. Prevent burning your skin when cooking or baking with trusty oven mitts.
Place hot pans, trays, casserole dishes, and hot kitchen utensils on top of trivets to protect your furniture and kitchen surfaces from burn marks.
- Food Processor
Prepare big batches of stuffing for pie crusts with a food processor. You may also use its attachments to expedite slicing or mincing tasks.
Blenders work great for making dips, smoothies, and shakes, and mixing sauces of all kinds.
- Slow Cooker
The slow cooker is an extremely versatile countertop appliance perfect for small or big households. You can make everything, from chicken wings to chili, and all you have to do is dump all the ingredients inside, adjust it to the correct settings, and wait a few hours.
Breakfast is made better with evenly toasted bagels and bread. If you decide to get a toaster oven, you can also use it to heat food quickly.
When you do not have time to cook, grabbing microwaveable meals may sometimes be your only option. A microwave can be used for a variety of things, from steaming vegetables and cooking quick treats or hot dishes to defrosting or heating meat or other food items fresh from the freezer.
- Electric Kettle
If you suddenly run out of gas to boil water on the stove or need only a few cups for your coffee or tea, an electric kettle can save the day.
Keep those hands clean and eat in peace with durable forks, spoons, knives, teaspoons, and salad forks.
- Serving Plates
Show your personal style by getting plates that reflect your aesthetic. Eating food is made more fun when it is served on plates that please the eyes.
- Serving Bowls
Enjoy breakfast cereals and late-night ice cream binges on a bowl. These can also be used as mixing bowls when making smaller portions of food.
Glasses are a must-have for drinking cold beverages. Get yourself wine glasses if you are a wine drinker so you can savor every sip better.
- Mugs or Cups
Enjoy your morning coffee, afternoon tea, or a generous serving of your favorite treats by serving them on mugs or cups.
- Wine Opener
There is a wide variety of wine openers available. Choose one that is easy to store and take with you when the occasion calls for it. You will never know when the next wine night can happen, so better be prepared!
- Placemats and coasters
Avoid leaving marks on furniture and various surfaces when serving drinks by using placemats and coasters.
- Tea Towels
Cover food without trapping excess moisture, dry up the dishes, and wipe off small spills with tea towels.
- Plastic containers
Store leftovers in plastic containers that you can chuck in the refrigerator to consume another day.
- Storage Containers
Hold unused ingredients, leftovers, or tiny kitchen items in storage containers to keep things organized on your shelves or pantry.
Building your kitchen might take more time than anticipated, and that’s okay. Be systematic about your approach. Start by evaluating your primary kitchen needs before you start shopping. Once you complete the items in your wishlist, you will be prepared for whatever food situation life throws your way—whether it’s a night of solo cooking or having friends and family over for a good time.
Mykie Concepcion is a marketing professional from Smeg Philippines, an Italian kitchen appliance brand. In her free time, she enjoys channeling her creativity through writing about home and lifestyle.